All across North America - in the United States and Canada - people mark the arrival of Easter in different ways. The Easter Basket full of candy, fake grass and toys is one way of celebrating the holiday. Sadly, another way involves live animals. Well-intentioned parents end up giving their children real bunnies for Easter. Rabbits are often cheap around Easter, with a lot of pet stores selling them for around ten dollars. (Source) Normally, I'd say it's a great idea to give these bunnies loving homes. But what often happens is parents buy bunnies for their kids and then eventually the families abandon these poor animals.
This is where my friends at Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen, New York, come in. They are urging parents not to adopt bunnies for their kids at Easter unless the families have long-term plans to provide loving homes for the animals. Instead, Farm Sanctuary is urging parents to support an animal resident at Farm Sanctuary. As the Farm Sanctuary Website notes:
The animal residents at Farm Sanctuary’s shelters, many of whom were rescued after being given as “Easter gifts,” depend on adoptive “parents” to provide them with healthy food, a safe habitat, individualized attention and veterinary care. Through the nonprofit organization’s Adopt-A-Farm Animal Project, parents can help give rescued animals a new beginning and inspire compassion in their children by sponsoring an animal in the name of their child (or in their own name). Each unique sponsorship package includes a personalized adoption certificate and beautiful color photo that make the perfect addition to any Easter basket.
What a great idea. Let's hope that before rushing out and adopting a cute bunny or chick (back in 2007, Farm Sanctuary also adopted 49 baby chicks - dyed purple, blue, pink, orange and green - from a Brooklyn pet store), parents decide to sponsor a Farm Sanctuary resident. Also, the wonderful folks at RabbitRescue.ca here in Ontario have been working hard for years to find loving homes for rabbits and they feature sponsorships, too. Check out their Website here. Unless families plan a lifelong commitment to a new member of their family, sponsoring animals is a far more humane way to go.